Quebec to release budget on March 17

Fri Mar 4, 2011 11:55am EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian province of Quebec will unveil its 2011-12 budget on March 17 at 4 p.m., provincial Finance Minister Raymond Bachand announced on Friday.

The government said last March it would run a deficit of C$4.5 billion ($4.6 billion) in 2010-11, but it vowed to balance its books by 2013-14 through a combination of spending curbs, tax hikes and user fees.

The governing Liberal Party has a narrow majority in the provincial legislature and should be able to ensure the budget is adopted. Polls, however, show the Liberals are highly unpopular with voters.

The Quebec budget will be unveiled five days before the federal government presents its budget on March 22.

Quebec wants around C$2.6 billion from Ottawa to compensate it for harmonizing its sales tax with federal taxes. Talks are still going on, and Bachand said he had no great expectations that a deal would be struck soon.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Quebec's Premier Jean Charest gives his inaugural speech at the National Assembly in Quebec City February 23, 2011. REUTERS/Pool/Jacques Boissinot</p>